Ben and Kirsteen's World Trip 2005/6 travel blog

Our boat ride to the jungle lodge

K enjoying her tree canopy walk

A juvenile jaguar

Taking it easy

A playful ocelot

A wax-tailed planthopper

B where he belongs in the monkey cage

Gold hunters dredging the riverbed

On an Amazonian oxbow lake

Feels like we're really in the jungle now!

A side-necked turtle

K with her favourite flowers

One of many big trees

The jungle huts

A tree python spotted on our night walk through the jungle

Sunrise over the Tamopata river

Parrots at the claylick (taken through binoculars)

K: The amazon was pretty impressive - lots and lots of trees, that's what we could see from the plane. It was as I had expected but it didn't feel as dangerous as I had thought, it was warm and humid though but the bugs weren't too bad. We travelled down the river, a big brown one, to get to the place we were staying. I was very impressed, each couple had their own guide and we had a proper little guest hut with mosquito nets for the bed. We also got fed very well but the program was pretty intensive and we saw lots of things.

We went walking in the jungle during the day and at night, we visited monkey island and did a tree canopy walk (and I don't like heights or things that creek suspiciously). It was really good, B was a big hit with the monkeys and I loved the Tapir and fed it all my boiled sweets. We also got to see a jaguar which was unbelievably beautiful, it was a juvenile and its mother had been killed by poachers.

The last night we went to bed early all packed because we were getting up at 4 to travel to the clay lick to see the spectacle of the parrots wolfing down clay to help them digest unripe fruit. Just we were about to go to bed we came across an unexpected creature in our room, on B's bed frame actually. He optimistically thought it was some sort of exciting jungle creature but it was a rat! I was not thrilled, but it ran off and we went to sleep. Now, I am a light sleeper and I kept hearing noises, eventually I gave up trying to sleep and got the torch - only to discover the rat was on my bed side cabinet eating my small bag that had my passport in it! Deeply unimpressed as you can imagine.

B: The Amazon was a lot less hostile than I was expecting. We had stocked up on bug spray as we thought we'd be eaten alive. Around Puerto Maldonado is a malarial area according to some websites but our guide assured us that there hadn't been a case for 20 years so we didn't take the weird dream-inducing drugs. The weather was also very pleasant as it had blown down from the mountains.

I've never been a fan of bugs but the variety of the strange and wonderful in the Amazon has won me over. I got a bit bored of all the bird species but loved finding exotic bugs with unique features. My favourite was a small beetle whose eyes glowed green like headlights. After walking round my hand for a while, it took off revealing a glowing red abdomen - its break lights!

Our guides were fabulously knowledgable and made a big effort to show us all different parts of the forest from the oxbow lakes to the tree canopy.

We saw lots of monkeys of different types. When we went to the animal sanctuary and, to our surprise, the guide said we could go into the monkey cage. I was a big hit with the female monkeys which grabbed hold of me a didn't want to go to anyone else. K picked her but after about 5 seconds, she came running back to me!

I'd recommend the Amazon to anyone - the variety of wildlife is incredible. With a good guide, you'll learn about the diversity of nature which you'd only normally see on the telly.

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